Unemployment Claims higher than expected

Initial jobless claims were higher than expected, rising 25,000 to 471,000 in the week ending May 15th (this is the week that corresponds with the May employment survey period). The four-week average of claims rose 3,000 to 453,500.

BOTTOM LINE: Following a gradual downward trend that resumed in the middle of April, initial jobless claims jumped in the second week of May. Given the volatility of this data series we are cautious about reading too much into any one reading (and we note that, despite this increase, the less volatile four-week average of claims in the May employment survey period was below that reported for the same period in April), but already uneasy markets are likely to be made more so by weaker data such as this claims report. Forecasts for employment may be less sensitive than usual to initial claims since a divergence has emerged between these two series (we note that the other early May employment reading this week―the jobs index within the Empire State survey―pointed to stronger employment growth, while the weekly ASA staffing index has remained solid; the employment component of today’s 10:00am Philly Fed survey for May should be a focus).

Source RDQ


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